The Houston Rockets look like a much better team following their activity at the trade deadline, but starting point guard Jeremy Lin appears none too happy about it. Unless he adjusts his attitude and starts accepting the change, then the Rockets' hopes of both making the playoffs this year and competing there will go out the window.
On Wednesday, Rockets GM Daryl Morey initiated the Rockets' deadline action by sending second-year forward Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a second-round pick.
He then proceeded to trade Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich to the Sacramento Kings for Francisco Garcia, Tyler Honeycutt and rookie Thomas Robinson. In the blink of an eye, the Rockets had players better suited to head coach Kevin McHale's run-and-gun game.
But Lin wasn't happy about it at all, even though his team did end up defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder that same night. Speaking to Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston, Lin made his feelings about the Rockets' deadline deals known.
“That was just pretty much the worst thing,” Jeremy Lin said. “It sucks because we’re a close-knit team and we actually really, really care about everybody that got shipped off and it was just really emotional for me.
“To be honest, I was like ‘I don’t even want to play. I don’t even want to play tonight.’ It was really emotional. I wish them the best. It just sucks to see them go and I guess that’s a part of the business but that’s a tough part for me.”
Now Lin must know how some of his Knicks teammates felt when he opted to speak to the Houston Rockets himself during his restricted free agency and restructure his contract. Anyway, that's not the point.
The point is that as bummed as Lin may be to see some of his buddies shipped off to another team, he needs to realize that trades are a regular occurrence in the league. The fact that he wasn't even the least bit excited about the new talent coming in means that he's going to have fences to mend before they even play a game together.
Moreover, Lin does not realize just how much talent the Rockets got in return from the trade with Sacramento.
Patterson's departure paves the way for two fine stretch 4's in Robinson and Terrence Jones to get extended minutes for the Rockets, meaning that McHale's system finally has players that fit it getting the playing time they deserve
This also means that Lin has some extra go-to guys outside of James Harden and Chandler Parsons, ones that can be forces on the perimeter as well as in the paint.
The team is now structured in such a way that he can become a better player, but he's still acting sad and disappointed because some of his friends were traded.
Needless to say, the Rockets need Lin to adjust his attitude immediately.
The team is now in a position to climb out of the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference and shoot for a higher seed, but that won't happen if Lin is unwilling to embrace the changes and start building relationships with Robinson, Garcia and the rest of the new faces.
His attitude right now is a recipe for disaster, both on and off the court. The Rockets offense is in grave danger of sputtering, despite its makeover, and that could lead to some tension in the locker room.
Those two factors could send Houston to a cold streak that allows a team like the Portland Trail Blazers or Los Angeles Lakers to catch up with them, leaving the Rockets on the outside looking in once the playoffs roll around. Given how hard the team has worked just to get to the No. 8 spot, it's easy to see who people will point fingers at if that happens.
Thus, Lin needs to accept reality and realize that he has no control over roster decisions. If anything, he should be looking forward to the opportunity to work on the court with his new teammates.
Otherwise, he sets the team on a horrific course that ends with him being a pariah in Houston, and the Rockets have too much money invested in him to let that happen.